County delays vote on shifting inmates to Castaic


County supervisors have postponed discussion of a plan to approve $5.6 million for improved mental health care in which some 320 mentally ill inmates housed in downtown Los Angeles would be sent to the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic for that care.

Members of Castaic Area Town Council expressed a desire to hear more about the plan and are expected to hear plan details from county officials Wednesday when the council meets, Rosalind Wayman, senior deputy for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, told The Signal Monday.

“Some members of Castaic Area Town Council had some issues with it,” she said about the proposed inmate transfer.

“It’s been postponed for two weeks,” she said.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was expected to vote Tuesday on the recommendation of county Health Services officials to hire mental health specialists at a cost of $5,629,000 who would provide “correctional mental health services” for inmates suffering from mental illness.

In the county’s ongoing effort to improve the overall quality and delivery of “correctional health services,” Dr. Mitchell H. Katz identified the need for “expanded mental health capacity” at the Pitchess Detention Center’s North Facility in a letter he drafted to the board pre-dated for Sept. 20, 2016.

Under the plan, about 320 inmates suffering from mental illness at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles would be transferred to Pitchess – in intervals of 80 inmates every 3 to 4 weeks.

A report presented to supervisors a year ago showed a sharp rise in the number of mentally ill inmates in county jails.

The report – the Los Angeles County Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility Population Analysis – referred to the Twin Towers as housing “the most severe mental health population in the LASD facilities.”

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